I opened a Haiwan 2005 ripe pu erh cake today. You will notice this cake carries the "laotongzhi" (old comrade) label as well. It is a signature label of Haiwan Tea Factory, produced under the auspices of Mr Zhou Pin Liang, a world renown teamaster. Prior to setting up his own tea factory (Haiwan), he was a production manager of Menghai tea factory for many years.
This ripe 357g cake was purchased when I was in Kunming last April. This cake, I was told, used mostly grade 6 pu erh. In Singapore, I had kept this pu erh, wrapper intact, in a new clean brown envelope. These are those normal larger envelopes that you send your mail. I keep my pu erh tea this way on my bookshelves this way. I have dedicated 2 long shelves to store my tea. (hehe....actually have even more tea stashed at my mum's place).
The color and appearance of this tea looks pleasant. The taste is lighter than I expected....... maybe I had expected it to be stronger and more robust. Given its age of 5 years and it was stored here for a year in Singapore (hot and humid), there was no post-fermentation smell or taste (called wodui - some describe wodui as slight fishiness in scent). There was instead a nice floral scent and a very mild sweet aftertaste sensation. It makes for a very smooth mellow drink and my tea session was finished in a hurry. I felt that this tea was produced under 'middle ground status'.........I meant that for ripe tea drinkers like me.....this tea has all the good characteristics of a ripe pu, ie woody, earthy, floral, sweetish and so on.....and the tea did not go overboard in its taste. This is to me, a standard straight forward pu. Yes, tea drinkers (me included) will have their individual preferred taste and will pursue those teas which is adjusted (woody, floral, sweet, robustness) to suit their taste buds. For example, the 2007 Menghai "golden needle/white lotus" ripe cake (see previous blog - 8 Jan 2010) which I also enjoy has the robust factor up many notches.
This tea cake was inexpensive and cost me about us$10(purchase date april 2009). Makes 10 infusions easily. A tasty and very good value for money tea, which I regret not buying extra as this cake is now not readily available in the tea shops or on the net.